On this episode, I sat down with my dear friend Heleen to talk about what it was like to birth and raise children in China. She shares her stories with such openness, positivity, and humour. We talk about cultural differences, the ease of motherhood and deliveries, being offered pizza while she was pushing for her first baby and what it was like to give birth in an Uber.
We arrived in China with one suitcase and bag full of dreams and we left with 4 kids
Heleen is a Dutch Mama of 4 gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed children, wife to fun loving businessman Maurice and in her down time (yes, can you believe that she manages to organise spare time) she loves to surf, hike and read.
They have spent the last 8 and a half years raising their children in China and only last year moved here to Cascais, Portugal to experience a more Mediterranean lifestyle. Their decision was simple, they looked on the map, saw that Portugal was close enough to the Netherlands and had beautiful nature and just said; Why not?!
As a couple, Heleen and Maurice believe that you only get one life and that you have to listen to your heart and follow your dreams. They make decisions based around what feels good for them and then they go for it. Every year they sit down and write down their goals; individually and collectively as a couple and family, not just for the coming year but to also re-align their 5-year goal. Just last month, they re-read their goals from 5 years ago and one of their dreams was to live in a home that had an ocean view. 5 years on, that’s the view that they wake up to every morning. Their belief in visualization and manifestation has guided them through their relationship together and more importantly, through their journey as parents.
Pregnancy, birth, raising children and becoming a Mama, is something women as a collective will always share. Each of us have our stories, we each share similar processes and experiences but somehow, globally and culturally, it is viewed and dealt with in such different ways. Now more than ever, it is so important that you’re able to turn within and ask yourself what feels right, what is it that is important to you and also to be strong enough to stand up for yourself and speak your truth.
Heleen’s outlook on life, her collective life experiences and her rich wisdom has made a positive ripple effect not only in my life, but in the lives of the women she touches. She is the person who is able to drop these one liners and instantly change my perspective and I am so fortunate that she is part of my village.
Heleen’s Pearl of Wisdom
The most important thing is that you always need to listen to yourself especially if you go to another country and culture and with your first baby, everything is new and you believe that the doctor knows it all, when in reality they don’t, because they don’t know you, they don’t know your culture, they don’t know your background and they don’t know what you want. You have all the wisdom you need inside of you.